Armstrong Pumps

Armstrong Pumps facility.

The history of the North Tonawanda, NY, home of Armstrong Fluid Technology is one of piecemeal expansion. In 1967, the privately held company that produces HVAC, plumbing and fire safety systems located its sole U.S. plant – Armstrong Pumps – at the original Buffalo Bolt Co. complex. Business growth spurts have since prompted gradual acquisition of neighboring structures. Twelve facilities and 150,000 sprawling square feet later, the floor plan is fraught with pipes, columns and varying ceiling heights. Ramps patch together buildings that were constructed on different ground levels. The resulting environment is the opposite of 21st century, open-floor manufacturing practices. Company leaders are seriously examining the site and its handicaps, along with adjacent purchased land, as they strive to answer mounting calls for large-scale, American-made, energy-efficient HVAC units. They also need to fulfill a corporate directive of elevating the customer experience by creating a hands-on engagement center. To explore possibilities of the 8-½ acres it owns, Armstrong Pumps leveraged the University at Buffalo and Strategic Partnership for Industrial Resurgence (SPIR) grant program.

The Approach

  • An Industrial and Systems Engineering professor, with support from graduate-level students and a School of Architecture assistant professor, facilitated two projects that included:
    • Collecting and analyzing production, sales and projected growth data
    • Soliciting feedback and ideas from nearly 30 supervisors
    • Compiling findings and Armstrong’s strategic plans to derive facility and space needs
    • Guiding function-based teams in sharpening the business plan
    • Ranking each building’s viability by inspecting interior and exterior elements
    • Devising general layout designs and engineering them into architectural frameworks
    • Calculating material movement among current and proposed layouts, and estimating cost savings of the alternate plans
    • Sharing expert green building advice

The Impact

  • Outlined two space configurations that enable optimum operational flow and efficiency
  • Provided all data needed to make decisions about the Western New York facility
  • Spurred a movement to de-clutter and eliminate dead spaces in the current set-up
  • Identified buildings to be considered for demolition
  • Assisted the corporate process of defining a roadmap for the facility’s market and growth
  • Networked with industrial resources outside of UB to introduce potential collaborations